Sustainability

Highgate is committed to raising awareness of environmental sustainability amongst our pupils, their families and our staff.

Highgate is working to become a sustainable school by providing relevant and impactful information and teaching regarding the environment and sustainable living, and by exemplifying best practice in all our activities.

Sustainability is one of the core objectives in our School Development Plan.  Following a period of review and consultation with pupils, parents, staff, consultants and Governors we will draw up a clear and comprehensive Sustainability and Environmental Policy.  Our aim is to set measurable and ambitious short term and longer term targets.  Our Governors’ Estates Committee has been designated as the monitoring body for progress of the action plan’s objectives and we have appointed our own Sustainability Lead from the Governing body.

Highgate is among the top 10% of London schools when it comes to inspiring pupils to transform their travel and reduce the number of car journeys made.

-Adam Pettitt, Head

Our sustainability success stories

 

  • A Gold STARS school – In December 2018, Highgate received a “School of Excellence” award from Transport for London, in recognition of our School bus service and other activities to reduce reliance on cars. This award, given ahead of over 1,600 London schools, means Highgate is a Gold STARS school for our efforts to increase sustainable travel.

 

  • Highgate School bus service – our School bus service cut approximately 13,000 car journeys to and from Highgate throughout 2018. Our bus service began in September 2016 and is designed to accommodate the needs of working families and reduce reliance on individual cars, thus reducing congestion and improving air quality locally. It also enables more of our pupils to travel to school together socially.

 

  • So long to single-use cups – we have phased out single-use cups across our School. Staff first committed to not using single-use cups at all, which cut Highgate’s usage of plastic cups by 1,000 per week! This campaign has since been extended to our pupils and wider community. Single-use cups are not recyclable (due to the plastic film inside), so their production and disposal has a negative impact on our planet.

 

  • On your bike – we encourage safe bicycle use amongst our School community and our Year 10 pupils, through their lobbying project, are in contact with the local council regarding better cycling infrastructure in the area. We run a bicycle maintenance activity for Senior School pupils, while staff can join the Cycle to Work scheme. (This salary-sacrifice arrangement enables staff to make tax and NI savings when purchasing a bike. Our Transport and Logistics Manager can help staff plan their cycle route to work).
  • Meat-free Monday – our Dining Hall provides hot and cold food to all pupils and staff. Every day there are vegetarian and vegan options but we also have Meat Free Monday, with no meat dishes or sandwiches served across our entire School. The Meat Free Monday campaign aims to raise awareness of the environmental impact of eating meat, and encourages people to have at least one meat free day per week.

 

  • Promoting biodiversity in our grounds – we have been working to increase the number and diversity of trees and plants across our School grounds, to encourage and increase biodiversity. Within our Junior School, pupils build their own bird feeders and houses, which can then be used across our 36-acre site.

 

  • Pupil-led societies and action – each school in our Foundation has a pupil-led environmental group. Our Senior School Environment Committee is a key vehicle for pupil voice, with members running awareness campaigns on turning off electrical items, improving re-cycling and cutting plastic bottle use, as well as organising an annual sustainability conference to which high profile speakers are invited. A small group from our Environment Committee, plus staff, attended the London Youth Strike 4 Climate Change protest in March 2019.

 

  • Going fast-fashion free – our Senior School Environment Committee have been looking at the impact of fast fashion. One teacher and a number of pupils took part in a month-long challenge of either wearing the same outfit, adopting a minimalist or capsule wardrobe or agreeing not to buy any new clothes during February 2019. Our Environment Committee also organises regular Swap Shops, where pupils and staff exchange pre-loved clothes for free.

Fast facts:

 

  • We are reducing air pollution and carbon emissions around our School
  • We are working to reduce the energy wasted by electrical appliances
  • We are reducing plastic and paper usage across our School
  • We are promoting the use of re-cycled and re-cyclable building materials in our new and existing buildings
  • We are working to develop biodiversity across our grounds
  • We are raising environmental awareness and action throughout our School and local community
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